Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Case of the Reappearing Procera Order....and the Silver Coin Purchase....

One of the things that I had to keep a close eye on with Gary was our bank account.  For quite some time, when he still had access to credit and debit cards, I would come home to find interesting boxes with items he had ordered.  He would buy real estate courses, investments, etc. and have no explanation for what or why he had purchased them.  So, but six months ago, I hid his credit cards and made it "impossible" for him to make unapproved purchases.  Sure, Ada.....believe that one!

As Gary's doctor says, "He is very smart and will find ways to work around your rules. You will always have to outsmart him."  I found quickly, that she is right.  For example, one day he called me to say, "Since you took my credit cards away, I had to use my good name to buy the silver."  Ok, reader....think about that for a moment.

I inquired, "What silver?"  He quickly responded that there was 300 ounces of silver being delivered to the house the next day and that we owed the broker $7250 within 3 days.  Really?  He managed to find the phone number to the broker who was a total butt.   I explained that my husband has dementia, that I have power of attorney and that he is not authorized to purchase any investments. (When he had ordered items in the past, this approach worked to get out of the deal or was able to return the items.)  He stated that the purchase had been made and that the silver had been shipped and that without payment, we would be sent to collections.  I checked with an attorney, who said that indeed, Gary had made a legal purchase that was binding.  Luckily, I needed some silver in my portfolio.  After an incredible "come to Jesus" with him about the importance of not sharing his personal information with strangers, he seemed to grasp the concept and we went for several months with no issues.

Just when I thought we had conquered that problem, the phone rang one day over the weekend and it was a salesperson selling the product Procera.  Gary listened to the entire pitch and decided, despite my jumping up and down saying NO, NO, NO, that he NEEDED the product to save his memory.  I told him to hang up on the operator which Gary refused to do because that would be rude.  So, while the salesperson was on hold, I explained to Gary that he had purchased the same offer over a year ago and that he had taken the products which ultimately showed no improvement in his brain. I adamantly told him that we would not spend an additional $250 on this product.  He told the operator that his wife would not let him buy it and that I had taken away his credit cards.  He whined like a child and I'm sure the operator thought I was mistreating this poor man.  He finally hung up and I covered AGAIN, why the purchase would not make a difference in his cognition.  After all, we had tried the product.   There, conversation over.  Right, Ada.

About a week later....a box arrived....

I was shocked.  Of course, Gary had no idea how he had managed to have the products shipped, after all, I had taken his credit cards. Badgering him about "how" produced no results.  So, I check the bank account and found that Gary somehow had found our checking account number and provided a bank draft to the operator who called back because he felt "sorry" for Gary.  Salespeople can be very self-motivated, can't they? I was so irritated that I screamed.

I brought the box to work and shared my frustration with Erica.  She said to call UPS and return the box for a refund.  I did.  Finally, rid of the pesky Procera and its unscrupulous salesman. Or so I thought.

I came home yesterday and found these products which I shipped back to the company lying on he counter.  Gary, "Where did these come from?"  "Honey, I don't know....I just answered the door.  Didn't you order them?"  Obviously, he had no memory of the entire incident. 

Upon further investigation, UPS had picked up the order at the college from me and rather than return them to Procera, they delivered them to my house.  I think the box must be cursed!!!!!!! 

So, I will spend time calling the company and getting an RMA and attempting AGAIN to send the product back for a refund.  I sure love my man, but sometimes this is frustrating!!!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The warm waters of Mexico

Gary has always loved diving.  We have been beneath the deep blue sea together in Aruba and the British Virgin Islands off Virgin Gorda.  When we went to Mexico last year for our anniversary, I decided not to go snorkeling.   I wanted to watch him and enjoy the boat and the sights.  Well, the real story is that I have an incredible fear of water and the first two dives were an absolute fluke that I put my head under water.  Snorkeling for me is a real terror! I'm a total freak-a-zoid.  Anyway...

Gary suited up and got ready for the snorkel trip.  The boat crew assumed all knew exactly what to do.  Gary, being an "old pro" was the first off the boat.  He started swimming.....and swimming and total got away from the line put out by the boat.  The crew member swam after him and got him back with the group.  It was a choppy day so they did not last long.  Apparently, it was a crappy experience that day in Isla Mujeres.

None-the-less, he came out of the water happy and ready for a margarita.  We went shopping after and had a great time driving a golf cart around the island.  I let Gary drive since we didn't need a license on the island.  He had a blast.

We bought another time share on that trip....guess I'm a die-hard for vacations.  I'm not afraid to travel with him as long as I keep my constant eye on him.  I need to plan this year's trip.  I am determined to have a good time.

So , see blog-friends, not all stories are awful.  Just wanted you to know that not all days are sad. Oh yeah, I learned to insert pictures!

Blog for Gary

Gary and I have been married a happy twenty eight years.  We have always lived by the motto, "You know when you know you know and you know when you know you don't know.  If you don't know, the answer is NO, if you do know, the answer is GO."  Those words have served us well.

We have lived in many places:  Virginia (met, married and lived x2), Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Nassau Bahamas, Georgia, California (Fremont, Pittsburg, Lafayette, Elk Grove)....and we have a retirement home in the country of Panama.  During all those years we have traveled so many places I have lost track.  We experienced many incredible adventures but now we are on the greatest adventure of our lives.  Gary was diagnosed in April of 2013 with Dementia.  My sense of life so far is that it will be the greatest, most emotionally moving and challenging adventure ever in our lives. 

The purpose of this blog is to share stories, jokes and life events to help others.  For those who love him and are not around, it might help them with his transition.  For those who may be experiencing this dreadful disease themselves or in their families, my hope is it will help them heal.  Dementia can be hell, I am choosing to view it as an adventure.  I have no choice or I will go crazy.  I wish the disease on no one.  This blog is intended to share our love and how we cope and that is all.

A day of far, so good

Today was unusual for us.  We were attempting to eliminate stress....just for one day.  So far, here are the events of one day:

  • Coffee in bed with our Beagle Diva (recently had knee surgery so she still requires lifting in and out of bed)
  • Breakfast at home
  • Time card processing by Ada while Gary tended to Diva
  • Foot and Body Massages at Healthy Sole Reflexology in Elk Grove
  • Lunch at Subway
  • Manicures (Gary is convinced that "Man"-I-cures always include extra chair massage, extra hand massage, hot wax and are just for men)
  • Pedicures
  • Shopping at Sprouts Market
  • Home to put away groceries which included the following products for me: Quietude (for calmer sleep), Sedalia (removes rage), Theanine (reduces stress and relaxes the brain), Gaba (for a calm mind), Sleepytime Tea (another healthy sleep trick) and a few other things.

  • We bought Salmon for dinner (supposedly contains Tryptophan)

I took a picture of these products to include in this blog.....I have attempted to insert it here and am getting annoyed and STRESSED because the directions in help do not look like my post!!!!!

So much for calm....

Monday, February 24, 2014

And the Pendulum swings....

What a contrast we have experienced from day to night. It is Monday and I awoke at 6:00am because I had to leave at 7:00 to be at work at 8:00.  I had predicated a stressful day since I knew I was performing a reduction of force that would effect 5 families.  (Those are the worst days I have experienced in my role over the years except for when an employee dies.)  

Gary arose at the same time.  While I was showering and getting ready, he made coffee, put bananas in the smoothies, steamed my pants for the day and was ready to kiss me goodbye.  I knew he was "on" today.  A good friend from church had volunteered to pick up Gary and take him to Kaiser for his TB test so he can go to adult day care. He was anticipating getting ready on time. I left his morning vitamins in the same place as always and set the timer to go off when he needed to take his afternoon pills. 

On my way out the door, I realized I had to go to the bathroom and probably would not make it for the hour drive.  I stopped by the toilet and Gary came looking for me to say goodbye.  He kissed me goodbye while I sat on the toilet because he too had to "go" and ran upstairs. Soon after, I yelled "goodbye" up the stairs and left.  A few minutes later, the phone rang and he said, "you left before I could say goodbye."  I said that he had kissed me goodbye.  He said, "where did I kiss you?"  I answered, "you kissed me on the toilet."  (I thought that was funny).  He laughed and said, "well, I guess that proves I love you!"  It certainly does, honey.

He proceeded to tell me that he hopes, despite all that I had to do, that I could make it a wonderful day (he remembered the layoff and the details I had shared) and then told me that I am a wonderful wife and how much he loves me.  (Wow, I am a lucky woman.  Thanks, God!) We hung up.

About five minutes later, he called to ask me something about the contents of the smoothie and ended by telling me that he hopes, despite all that I had to do, that I could make it a wonderful day (he remembered the layoff and the details I had shared) and then told me that I am a wonderful wife and how much he loves me. 

I thanked him and hung up.  A few minutes later I thought, "he's going to call again.....wait for it...."    Ring...sure enough...same conversation as before.  I enjoy when my husband is so sweet and tells me how wonderful a wife I am but it seems weird that I hear it so much :) He repeated the conversation two more times.

So I continued on to work and executed my very stressful day. If you have never done a reduction of force, don't bother trying to imagine.

I left work around 6:15 and Gary called to say, "Can I take you to dinner?"  Again, he still seemed clear.  I told him that I was feeling very overwhelmed and stressed and that I would rather stay home and have leftovers.  He put chicken in the oven while I was driving home and talking to him.  When we got to the part of cutting cucumbers and kale, he hit a wall.  By the time I got home, he was totally overwhelmed and feeling extremely anxious. I realized he had not taken his morning medication until afternoon and the afternoon pills were still in the container.  Bingo, the alarm is not working.  I have to stand and watch him take the pills from now on. 

Our way of dealing with this overwhelm is to give him extra stress relief medicine and to have large quantities of various herbal calmer-downer-teas. While the teas are starting to work, it is very stressful for us.  He says every few seconds, "I am SOOOO OVERWHELMED."  So, yes, this creates the same in me.

After the tea kicks in, then we can have a productive conversation. I asked him how the trip to Kaiser went.  He did not know when his follow up appointment was, so I asked if Lon had gone into the appointment with him.  He said no and that it was not Lon who picked him up.  I knew that it was Lon as he was the only person who knew about the appointment and our plans for him to take Gary.   Gary got very upset when I told him that it HAD to be Lon.  He said, "I know Lon, we go to Bible study together. I'm telling you it was not him." 

Knowing that logic was not going to do the trick, I pinged Lon on FB and confirmed that he in fact had picked up Gary and brought him back home.  He also said that Gary gave him a small box of Valentine candy.  Gary sat and watched the whole chat session and was blown away that Lon confirmed that he had been the one to transport him to Kaiser and home.  An hour later, he is still mesmerized that he did not remember Lon's face. He asked if someday he might not remember me and I said that its a possibility. 

I'm very tired, emotionally and physically.  He is too, so we will go to bed soon.  All I can do is let him know that I love him and that even if he ever does not remember me that I will still love him and protect him.  He may not know me but I know him.

Goodnight, Gary. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Medication making a difference

About six weeks ago, Gary started taking one of the dementia medications.  The doctor said to make sure we did not expect more than a 5-10% improvement in his cognition.  I am seeing an improvement and who am I to say whether it is x or y percentage improvement? I don't care, it helps.

Another part of the trials of dementia are the frustration he experiences of not being able to think like before the disease. He gets very anxious and then things really go south.  So, I called his doctor and she doubled one of his medications that is used in many patients for seizure disorders. She explained that it relaxes the neurons in the brain. That is REALLY working.

When I got home from a killer day, I found a reorganized refrigerator, a mowed and cleaned lawn and a neat desk.  He is very tired from the lawn work and remembers that clue who reorganized the refrigerator....must have been gremlins. 

I'm the one who is grumpy and incorrigible today.  Guess I'm allowed. 

By the way, many have asked why Gary doesn't drive.  He would if allowed but the State of CA revokes the drivers license when one is diagnosed with dementia.  At least the state has some redeeming qualities.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

3:00 pm phone call...."I'm riding my bike to the Chiropractor....."

Yesterday, around 3:00, Gary called me at work to say he was riding his bike to the chiropractor.  This an office he has visited on numerous occasions and its about 2.5 miles from the house.  Gary is in great physical shape and this did not concern me.  I told him to call me when he got back home.  About 4:00 he called to tell me he had gotten home but had left his wallet, jacket and cell phone at Dr. Doug's and that he had called them and was going back. 

I got extremely busy and work and was entertaining an incredibly upset student (that is a whole different blog :) At 6:30 my cell phone rang and the caller i.d. showed it to be Gary.  I answered but discovered the caller to be Dr. Doug who was using Gary's phone to call me.  Gary never showed at his office and he was closing and was very concerned.  I explained to him that Gary had been diagnosed with Dementia since he last saw Gary.  He suddenly understood the seriousness of the situation.  He said, "My, he hides it very well.  He appeared to be his same old jovial self."  I explained that Gary is VERY GOOD at hiding his disability and that is why he often gets into trouble.

He said that he really became concerned when another Chiropractor's office from about 4 miles away called his office to say that "somehow" Gary had gone to their office looking for Dr. Doug's office.  The two offices have no affiliation and Doug could not understand how Gary had gotten there.  I explained that he probably took the wrong route and got lost.  Meanwhile, Gary never showed.  Suddenly, we did not know where Gary was and it was dark.  The other Chiro's office went out looking for him.  Doug said that he would drive the main route and look for him.  (keep in mind that I work 45 minutes away).  He said he would call me and keep me up-to-date.

Meanwhile, I noticed that while I had been with the student, a strange number had called my cell.  About 25 minutes before, Gary had borrowed the cell phone from the sign waiver on the corner to call me.  Earlier, he had gotten lost as he went in the entirely different direction to go back to Doug's office.  He saw the happy clown on the corner with whom he always identified and waves to when we go by.  He asked the clown where the chiropractors office was and was directed to the wrong office.  So, I had a message that was 25 minutes old.  I called the phone number to what I later found to be the clown's.  He answered and was very concerned about Gary as he knew "something was wrong."  He told me the direction of Gary's departure so I called Doug and informed him.  He has gotten a call from the other office stating that Gary was at a local grocery store with someone from the other office.  Doug agreed to get Gary home and I would stop on my way home to retrieve the bike.

Gary then called me from someone else's borrowed phone to tell me where he was.  I explained that Doug was on his way and he was to stay there. 

Doug called back and said that Gary was with him and someone else (I presume the employee of the Chiropractor's office) was following him with Gary's bike.

Gary and I arrived out our house at nearly the same time.  I cried.  He didn't really understand what mental gyrations I had gone through.  Can you imagine how that 45 minutes felt?  The clown sign waiver even called to check on him.

One thing I do know.....many angels were watching over him.

I realized that he cannot do bike adventures anymore.  Its too risky.

Ironically (or God's intervention), today i was referred to an adult day care center near my college.  They gave me additional resources for low cost transit for the disabled.  My assistant went by there on her way to work to check on it for me....without my asking. i've started the applications and will make this option work three days a week as soon as all is processed.

The amazing part of all, how much people really do care.  I couldn't imagine going through this alone.....the agony of wondering where he was and wondering if he was ok was really strange.

This morning, I asked him how he felt about what happened last night with all the people who helped him.  He did not remember the entire event.  I reminded him and then felt bad about telling him.  Perhaps I should have just let him enjoy his morning since he won't remember anyway.......

Just now, 24 hours later, I read this to Gary before publishing.  He said, "Well of course I remember all those nice people helping me!"

Another day in the adventure.